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August 1, 2014

Group calls 12th Congressional District a 'tossup'

The Illinois 12th Congressional District, where U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart holds the seat, has moved from "leaning Democrat" to a "tossup," according to an independent political research firm and newsletter.

Enyart, D-Belleville, faces Republican state Rep. Mike Bost, of Murphysboro, and Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw, of Carbondale.

The Enyart-Bost-Bradshaw race is one of 20 tossup races in the U.S. House, according to Cook Political Report ratings released Friday.

The Cook Political Report categorizes tossup races as the most competitive and where each party has a good chance of winning.

Ron Deedrick, a Bost spokesman, said the findings of the Cook Political Report raises the 12th District race's stature with the Republican Party on the national and state level -- bringing more attention and resources.

"This lets them know we're doing the things we need to because the environment is changing and the incumbent needs to be concerned," Deedrick said.

"A lot of people thought this race is over and done with but the people in D.C. are paying attention and it's because of Mike getting out and doing what he needs to connect with voters and being a conservative Illinois voice," Deedrick added.

Enyart's campaign adviser, Jason Bresler, said in a statement Friday that voters will reject Bost in the November election because of his 20-year record of "reckless and dishonest plans that ran our state's economy into the ground and forced higher taxes."

"Washington pundits will come and go, but what's not going to change is Gen. Bill Enyart's history of serving his country and his record of putting service ahead of political games, and that's a clear difference in this race with Springfield insider Mike Bost," Bresler said.

Bradshaw could not be reached for comment.

Enyart was elected in 2012 to represent the 12th District, replacing Jerry Costello, the longtime Democratic representative from Belleville.

In the 2012 election, the Cook Political Report had Enyart and his Republican opponent, Jason Plummer, listed as a tossup race on Election Day. Enyart defeated Plummer by nearly 10 percentage points.

The ratings released on Friday also state that the Illinois 13th District "leans Republican." This means that the race is competitive but the Republican Party has an advantage.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, faces Democratic challenger, Ann Callis, for the 13th District seat in Congress.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 618-239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDJLee.

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